Feeding mushrooms to cattle could control the spread of bovine tuberculosis, scientists have claimed.

Researchers at RPF Bioscience said compounds found in mushrooms could strengthen the immune systems of cows, helping to stop the spread of bTB between cattle.

Joy Edwards, the firm’s head of science, said there was sufficient evidence to warrant testing of a fortified mushroom compound which could be delivered to cattle once a year as a bolus.

“We have been researching the issue of bTB for more than 18 months and have unearthed anecdotal and published evidence to suggest various strains of TB have been treated successfully with mushrooms for many years,” she said.

After a decade of research into the effect of mushroom compounds on humans, the company has identified “incredible antibacterial properties” associated with the fungi, she added.

“There is nothing unusual about treating bacteria with mushrooms – think penicillin.

“Mushrooms have been used to treat almost every ailment known to science for more than 3000 years.”

Mrs Edwards said farmers were being sought to take part in field trials of the compound across the UK.

The product is in the development stages, but will be marketed as Myco Formula 5 by September this year.

Why use mushrooms to tackle TB? All the questions answered